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January 09, 2014 AT 11:26 AM
A New Jersey legislative panel voted unanimously Thursday to declare a former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey staffer in contempt after he was forced to appear before the lawmakers but refused to answer questions. David Wildstein, who had been appointed to the post by Gov. Chris Christie, had gone to court to keep from testifying at the hearing of the Assembly Transportation Committee, which is probing a growing scandal over access lane closures to the George Washington Bridge. But a judge shot down the motion, telling him that he had to appear but could appeal later. The contempt charge, which is a misdemeanor, came after Wildstein showed up at the noon hearing with his lawyer, Alan Zegas, but repeatedly decided to invoke his Fifth Amendment constitutional right against self-incrimination.